The budget deficit will stand at about 4 billion dinars at the end of the 2019 fiscal year, or 3.5% of GDP, against 4.8% of GDP in 2018 (5 billion dinars), the Tunisian Institute of Competitiveness and Quantitative Studies (Itceq) indicated in its recently published Economic Conjoncture Review (January/February 2020).
According to Itceq, the State’s own revenues reached 32.3 billion dinars, against 27.9 billion dinars in 2018.
This increase is explained, essentially, by the rise in direct taxes, with a 40% increase also for income taxes (to 12.6 billion dinars) and corporate taxes (to 8.8 billion dinars).
On the expenditure side, the Institute has highlighted a 10% increase in operating expenses, due in particular to the growth in expenditure on remuneration, rising from 14.7 billion dinars to 16.7 billion dinars between 2018 and 2019.
Similarly, debt servicing increased by 20% to 9.5 billion dinars at the end of 2019, compared to 7.9 billion dinars in 2018.
In 2020, the Finance Law forecasts own revenues of 36.9 billion dinars (+11% compared to the provisional results of 2019) and expenditures of 36.6 billion dinars (+8.8%).
The budget deficit should therefore reach 3% of GDP against 3.5% provisional for 2019.
As for the stock of public debt, it will rise from 82 billion dinars during the two years 2018 and 2019 to 94 billion dinars in 2020.
However, the new economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic will certainly impact the budget balances for the current fiscal year and worsen the deficit. The budget forecasts will consequently have to be completely revised.